PALMDALE – Invasive Aedes mosquitoes, which are known transmitters of yellow fever, dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika virus, were identified in two new locations in Palmdale, the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District announced Wednesday.
One site was near 35th Street East and Avenue Q-4 and the other site was near 37th Street East and Avenue Q. The District had not detected this invasive mosquito in these locations prior to this identification, according to District entomologist Karen Mellor.
Aedes aegypti, also known as the yellow fever mosquito, was first discovered in the Antelope Valley in October of 2018. The District has since detected it several more times during previous seasons, but these are the first two detections of 2021 year, according to Mellor.
Aedes aegypti is a small black and white mosquito that feeds almost exclusively on humans and tends to bite below the knees. Unlike Culex mosquitoes that generally bite during dusk and dawn, Aedes mosquitoes bite throughout the entire day and into the evening.
Female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes lay eggs in small containers, such as vases, buckets, pots and plant saucers, just above the water line. The eggs can dry up and survive for six or more months, waiting for the container to re-flood so they can
hatch. Aedes mosquitoes are typically introduced into new areas when people bring in containers from other areas that contain the eggs.
Aedes aegypti are known transmitters of diseases like yellow fever, dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika virus, Mellor said.
“Although these mosquitoes have the potential to carry these diseases, there is currently nothing to indicate that local transmission is occurring,” Mellor said.
AVMVCD has increased mosquito surveillance and will continue to place traps that are designed to attract egg-laying Aedes mosquitoes. Once trapped, the mosquitoes are contaminated with larvicide. When they leave the trap, they spread the larvicide to several breeding sites around the trap, which targets larvae in small and hard to find breeding sources. The female mosquito also gets infected with a mosquito-specific fungus that kills her before she can spread disease.
AVMVCD officials are encouraging residents to inspect their properties weekly (and immediately after it rains) to dump, drain or flush out containers and permanent fixtures that are holding at least a teaspoon of water. Scrubbing the insides
of the containers is also recommended, as this can dislodge eggs deposited above the water line.
The District is also urging residents to do their part to protect themselves from mosquito bites by:
- Wearing repellents containing EPA registered ingredients, such as DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 to exposed skin and/or clothing (as directed on the product label).
- Wearing long sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and shoes when mosquitoes are most active.
- Ensuring windows and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from entering the home.
- Inspecting yards for standing water sources, and draining water from under potted plants, in bird baths, inside discarded tires, or from other items that could collect water.
- Checking rain gutters and lawn drains to make sure they aren’t holding water and debris.
- Cleaning and scrubbing bird baths and pet watering dishes weekly.
- Checking indoor plants that are kept in standing water for mosquito activity (i.e. Bamboo and Philodendron).
- Reporting any daytime biting mosquitoes to the AVMVCD at 661-942-2917 or online at www.avmosquito.org/submit-a-tip.
To stay up-to-date on mosquito related information, visit www.avmosquito.org.